Sex As A Bargaining Tool: When to Hold and When To Fold

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sexual frustration in marriage wife doesn't want to have sexWARNING: Potentially controversial statements ahead!

I met a wife the other day who said she felt a power shift in her relationship once they were married. I asked why she felt that way and what she meant exactly and her response was as follows: “It’s as if once he married me he felt like he’d done the one thing I really wanted so he no longer feels like he has to do much else that I ask.” My response: “Well what about sex? Isn’t that the ultimate bargaining tool?” To my surprise she seemed surprised that she hadn’t really thought of that. After being married for five years she’d forgotten that although he put a ring on her finger, she still held power over something he will always want – sex!

Ladies, in this area, don’t we always have the power? Especially when it comes to dissolving marital woes! Like many sensitive issues involving marriage, I believe working this tactic correctly is an art not a science and it takes some perfecting. As many of you have figured out by now, I like to gamble. So when I think about the idea of using sex in your marriage to get what you want, I think of poker, and the calculated risks involved before each play. Put simply, you have to know when to hold, and when to fold. So, I present to you, my little non-scientific guide. Enjoy, and I hope it proves helpful. (Let’s just say it’s working for me!)

Sex: When to Hold

When it’s been two weeks since you asked him to do something and he still hasn’t, yet he’s complaining that “it’s been days” since you two had some fun. Hold tight, girls. That door lock will get fixed and those boxes you need sent will make it to UPS, promise!

When you realize he’s blocking you out and no longer listening to what you’re really saying. Men will always speak the language of “love” (wink!) so if he’s stopped communicating your way, why communicate his?

Sex: When to Fold

When you realize you’ve held your “cards” (get my analogy here?) so long he’s stopped asking to play the game. There’s a thin line between punishment and utter cruelty. Walk it if you dare, but be sure to watch your step.

When both your stress levels are so high the tension is spilling over into your everyday interactions. This can ultimately cause more trouble than it’s worth (trust me, I learned this the hard way). If you find yourselves having a full blown argument over who drank the last of the milk, it’s probably a good idea to hit the sack – together!

Note: The recommended “wait time” will vary with each husband (you know his needs better than I ever could) and wife, but trust me, if you’re not getting what you want right now, he will pay closer attention if you stop giving him what he wants!

Have you used sex as a bargaining chip in your marriage? What has/hasn’t worked for you? Spill those tips and tricks girls!

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21 Responses to Sex As A Bargaining Tool: When to Hold and When To Fold

  1. hit the nail on the head. I love your posts. I do not have free range to discuss topics like these. My husband may be a little bashful on how much I "share". Not that he reads my blog, but he lets people know about it. ha.

    I need to think about my "tricks" and will come back and share!
    My recent post Fresh Summer Drinks

  2. myloverswife says:

    I would never use sex as a bargaining tool. As you said, this is a huge gamble. I’m of the mindset that I need to please my husband so he doesn’t go elsewhere for action. This is not to say that every time he wants to get frisky, I oblige. There are times when you just don’t feel like getting it on…when those times come about I pass on the play.
    My recent post More on the challenge

  3. Christina says:

    I’m not a fan of sex as a bargaining tool, at least not of withholding it to get your way. it just turns into a nasty cycle of nobody getting what they want, at least in my experience. I would rather guilt him into doing what I want, by being extra nice,lmbo!! That seems to work better for me.

  4. Life As Wife says:

    That doesn’t work when the Wife wants to play “poker” as much as the Man! Haha

  5. I'm with the others who said they don't use sex as a bargaining tool. I tried it once early on in our marriage. (We've been married 15 years now.) It blew up spectacularly on me and I will never, EVER play that game again. Led to a lot of hurt feelings. Besides, I like sex way too much. I'd hate if he withheld from me.

  6. Agree with the other ladies. I do not use sex as a bargaining tool, at all ever. We are going to talk through whatever issues we have, even if we have to talk it to death. I also agree that it's childish.

    Can't ride with you on this one Charli.
    My recent post Odds And Ends- The Pimping Ain’t Easy Edition

  7. Jess says:

    It's not that I wouldn't, it's that I can't. His "hold out" time is a bit longer than mine and he knows it. I can threaten to withhold sex and he just laughs and tries to seduce me. Not to mention, I agree with myloverswife, I am in the mind set of keeping my husband satisfied. It's definitely an amusing prospect though. :)

  8. ManWifeDog says:

    Ladies it's SO great to get all the feedback on this and to start a healthy dialogue. My perspective is coming from the newlywed side of things so it may sometimes be flawed and it's always nice to hear what other wives have to say about different topics based on their own experiences. In our marriage we're able to laugh at ourselves A LOT so I think when I wrote this more than anything I wanted to have fun with the topic and spark a good debate — I knew it would be controversial and I'm okay with that. I have a few follow up thoughts after reading your comments:

    1. If it's wrong to use sex as a bargaining tool, than wouldn't it be wrong either way? If you're giving more, or giving none, either way you're playing a game to get what you want, no?

    2. I agree that using your communication skills first and foremost is almost always the best idea. Of course.

    3. Thanks SO much for the feedback girls. Seriously, it's so important to debate these issues in a way that can benefit us all by creating a better understanding about what makes a marriage work — and what destroys it.



  9. ames says:

    I am sure my husband would love it, if I wanted something and met him at the door and attacked him to get it.

    I think if you maintain the fun, using sex as a bargaining tool can be exciting.
    My recent post primary colors

  10. Tiffany says:

    I've never really thought about sex as a tool. But as a newlywed, you've got my wheels spinning. lol. I do agree with your #2. No matter how you spin it (more or less), I think nothing beats communication as a way to get what you want!
    My recent post Homeboys baaaack!

  11. whatthegraham says:

    I too used to think about tool as a bargaining chip but biblically it's wrong and I wouldn't ever hope he put my needs, emotionally or physically, in a point of leverage. We talk things out and as much as I really would not want to be nagging I will ask him or remind him to do something instead of holding something against him. There were many times in our marriage that I've just done whatever I was waiting for him to do, like take out the trash, if it's something I physically can do when he see's that I'm no longer waiting you'd be surprised the shot to the gut that is for him and it avoids further frustration for you. I won't lie and say that I tend to try to do whatever I've waiting for him to do in front of him, so he knows it happened. Now he takes out the trash way before I ask and usually goes above and beyond if he can.

    For things I can't do I have a 3 reminder rule for me, after that I feel like I'm being a nag, but if he's not done it after that 3rd time then I ask my neighbor (his good friend) or my dad. Never do I throw it in his face to shame him but again, his pride kicks in and so do his emotions. He wants to take care of me and he really doesn't want me to have to rely on someone else.

    Maybe something useful! Obviously to each his own though, I'd never judge (well that's a lie, I wouldn't judge on something like that as long as it's not out of spite). I will say that since I stopped using sex as a bargaining chip he knows that when I don't want to have sex it's really because I'm sore or whatever he's not wondering if there's something out there that he's doing wrong. Ha men are like dogs, they rarely remember something, especially something they don't realize they have messed up but their being punished! :) Honestly, good for you for posting this though!!
    My recent post Chair Update Take 3

  12. theMRS. says:

    I have never, will never use it as a bargaining tool.

    One of the strangest pieces of advice I got when I got married was from an old couple I know. They said physical intimacy is the oil that keeps a marriage running and that you should do something intimate every day- even if its something little

    ♥ theMRS.

    My recent post Reader Response- Naija

  13. ral says:

    If you push this a little too far, you'll find yourself ALONE with no turning back!

    You will probably ask yourself why you even got yourself in this situation in the first place. Not all husbands are good in taking rejection specially if it is already being used too often and for shallow reasons.

    NPD is a different story of course.

  14. Catie2024 says:

    Ha i use it all the time and it works!! Why should i give him what he wants when he doesnt give me what i want.. It goes both ways… For those afraid that your men will stray- i say if they do that then they really didnt love you anyway. Thats what they have hands for!!

    • Jeff says:

      Just a little fair warning from a guy prospective. When a man gets married, it is not to not have sex. I am NOT saying the woman is a sexual object to be used whenever/ however. You are entering into a partnership of mutal love and respect. I am currently I a situation where my wife thinks she can hold out and get her way on a life altering subject. We have discussed and were in agreement on when we will have children and now she wants a child NOW regardless of my input and our previous agreement. If your partner discovers what you are doing in playing this dangerous game, don’t be surprised if he evaluates the relationship. As I stated earlier, mutual love and respect are paramount in marraige. You may not like the results of this very childish and hurtful game.

  15. Spencer says:

    My girlfriend sent me an article from your site and I stumbled on this post. What a great conversation. I felt compelled to share my thoughts.

    I have conversations with my girlfriend (and even my family and friends) all the time about making each other wrong. For so many years of my life I made everybody around me wrong. I always had to be right. Every conversation was about right or wrong, agree or disagree, win or lose.

    You can be 'right' all you want. You can even withhold sex to get your way. But what are you giving up in order to be right? Love and affinity with your husband? Good health? Satisfaction and fulfillment? Think about that one. What is being right costing you? And what's the impact on your family?

    I'm not married, but it occurs to me that if your partner is blocking you out and no longer listening to what you're saying, there's some deep-seeded stuff going on in the relationship that the two of you need to look at.

    Withholding sex seems like a very surface level, short-term solution. You might mask the symptoms temporarily but unless you address the cause the effect with remain the same. It's like pulling weeds without getting the roots.. it's just going to come back.

    It's also seems quite manipulative.

    Women, use your wisdom. You're so powerful.

    And be careful. Gambling is a slippery slope.
    My recent post 20 Lessons I Learned From The Conference For Men

  16. mike says:

    Take care of your nails: bestnailsalonnearme 20

  17. orangerules says:

    Using sex as a bargaining tool has no doubt been happening for ages and the majority of women probably do it, but it's not a good idea. When I realized my wife was doing this just recently I didn't say anything but internally I started to boil. Fortunately, I have a job where time and a half is pretty good money, they frequently need the extra help, and quite frankly I'd rather be there if she's going to pull that kind of thing. There's lots of recently divorced, attractive, single women around work, half of them probably took your advice and are now "happily" single.

  18. Dehorned Dog says:

    All women who seek to marry use sex as bait. I had a good enough sex life prior to marriage, but he wedding was the end of that. I no sooner got home from a sexless honeymoon to be told that sex was only going to happen when she felt like it. My mistake was not packing and moving out right then.

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